Mystery Shopping: ABN vs. Statement by Supplier – Exploring Payment Options


Introduction, ABN vs. Statement by Supplier – Exploring Payment Options

As mystery shopping continues to gain popularity, individuals engaged in this field must navigate the intricacies of payment options. Two common methods used by mystery shoppers to receive compensation are using an Australian Business Number (ABN) or providing a Statement by Supplier (SBS). In this article, we will explore the differences between using an ABN and using an SBS for payment in mystery shopping. By understanding these options, mystery shoppers can make informed decisions regarding their preferred payment method.

Using an ABN for Payment

  1. Independent Contractor Status: Operating as an independent contractor is a common approach for many mystery shoppers. If you choose to use an ABN for payment, you are essentially running your own business and can invoice the mystery shopping company for your services.
  2. ABN and Invoicing: Having an ABN allows you to issue invoices to the mystery shopping company, clearly outlining the services rendered, payment terms, and other relevant details. Invoices provide a professional framework for payment transactions.
  3. Tax Obligations: When using an ABN, you are responsible for managing your tax obligations. This includes reporting your earnings, paying any applicable taxes, and maintaining accurate records of income and expenses related to your mystery shopping activities.
  4. Flexibility and Versatility: Having an ABN can offer flexibility, as it enables you to pursue other freelance or contract work beyond mystery shopping. You can engage in various business opportunities, expanding your earning potential.

Using a Statement by Supplier (SBS) for Payment

  1. Employee Status: Some mystery shopping companies engage shoppers as employees rather than independent contractors. In this case, you may not need an ABN, and the company will provide a Statement by Supplier (SBS) for payment instead.
  2. SBS and Payment Details: A Statement by Supplier is a document issued by the mystery shopping company, outlining the payments made to you for your services. It typically includes your personal details, the amount paid, and any applicable tax withheld by the company.
  3. Tax Reporting and Obligations: When receiving payment through an SBS, the mystery shopping company is responsible for deducting and remitting any necessary taxes on your behalf. As an employee, you may have less tax-related administrative responsibilities compared to operating with an ABN.
  4. Reduced Administrative Burden: Using an SBS may alleviate some administrative tasks, as the mystery shopping company handles tax obligations and payment arrangements. This allows you to focus solely on the mystery shopping assignments without the added responsibilities of running your own business.

Choosing the Right Payment Method

Selecting the appropriate payment method—using an ABN or using an SBS—depends on various factors, including your employment status and personal preferences. Consider the following factors when making your decision:

  1. Employment Relationship: Assess whether you are engaged as an independent contractor or an employee. Independent contractors typically require an ABN, while employees receive payments through an SBS.
  2. Tax Obligations: Determine your comfort level and willingness to manage tax reporting and obligations. If you prefer a simplified approach with fewer administrative tasks, receiving an SBS as an employee may be more suitable.
  3. Business Opportunities: Consider whether you want to pursue additional freelance or contract work beyond mystery shopping. If you desire flexibility and the ability to engage in other business ventures, having an ABN may provide more opportunities.
  4. Personal Preferences: Take into account your preferences regarding invoicing, financial management, and the level of control you want over your financial affairs. Some individuals appreciate the structure and professionalism of invoicing with an ABN, while others prefer the convenience and reduced administrative burden of receiving an SBS.


Mystery shoppers have two primary payment options: using an ABN or receiving a Statement by Supplier (SBS). The choice between these methods depends on your employment relationship, tax obligations, desired level of administrative responsibility, and personal preferences. Operating with an ABN offers independence, invoicing capabilities, and the opportunity to pursue other business ventures. On the other hand, receiving an SBS as an employee simplifies tax obligations and reduces administrative tasks. By carefully considering these factors, mystery shoppers can select the payment method that aligns with their individual circumstances and goals. Whether you choose to operate with an ABN or receive an SBS, both options facilitate timely compensation for your valuable contributions to the field of mystery shopping.

Mystery Shopping

Please feel free to call us anytime

1300 88 33 16

Alternatively if you would like us to to give you a call,
simply fill out your details below